Movements – No Good Left To Give

  • Cole Faulkner posted
  • Reviews


No Good Left To Live - Fearless Records

California post-hardcore emo quartet Movements made for an impressive debut a few years back. The band kicked off their tenure on Fearless Records with the hauntingly ambient Feel Something, an album that didn’t take long to get under my skin by stirring fluid comparisons with The Early November, The Saddest Landscape and even Senses Fail.  The band defines themselves as masters of the emotional ebb and flow, leaving their heart on their sleeve one moment, and plunging into a valley of cathartic release for the next.  Their sophomore follow-up, No Good Left To Live, marks another step in their evolution, suggesting that the band has even more layers and sonic complexities to weave into their angsty essence.

The album opens on a strong atmospheric note, setting a foundation for the hollow emotional purgatory that Movements exist between.  “In My Blood” coats the darkness with a blanket of open ended reverb and lingering guitar, played with the sulky affective deadpan of Leaked Demos era Brand New.  The song closes with the hypnotic repetition of lightly landing lyrics in the whispered loop, “I will, keep you in my blood,” stirring the curiosity of listeners by the track’s end.  The formula repeats to atmospheric effect in “Don’t Give Up Your Ghost,” but the song stands tall above the crowd, giving fans an exemplar of achievement for the genre.  Serving as the record’s lead single, the song exudes the right level of anticipation and release without ever deviating from the core melody.  It’s one of those rare songs that feels so intense without ever raising the tempo.  The aura channels the essence of Manchester Orchestra but without forcing the comparison, further showcasing Movements as rising masters of post-punk.

And for those that prefer their post-hardcore with a side of gut wrenching angst, Movements traverse the full sonic landscape.  “Tunnel Vision” in particular rises to soaring guttural peaks, with vocal intensity gradually rising to cathartic screams for peak intensity.  Think of these moments like flashes of Senses Fail peppered throughout the soundscape.  The song ebbs and flows effortlessly without disorienting listeners between styles.  For instance, “Garden Eyes,” “Seneca” and “12 Weeks” follow with verses of washed out, melancholy ease, complementing rather than confusing listeners with the juxtaposed approaches.  A hint of spoken word makes the jump between albums as well, with “Moonlight Lies” boasting a powerfully spoken verse that cements the sense of malaise.   Compared with their debut, the band is more sparing with their highs, essentially distinguishing No Good Left To Live’s sonic footprint from their more tumultuous past. In redefining their overall flow they avoid the pitfalls of attempting to replicate previous success, making their sophomore effort stand apart from their earlier selves in a way that does justice to new song writing ideas.  

With No Good Left To Live, Movements have shrugged off any hint of a sophomore slump in favour of a steady march onward and upward.  Rather than try to replicate the lightning in a bottle of their debut LP, the band has opted to evolve and explore where the music takes them.  While they haven’t totally rewritten their playbook, they reorient and re-emphasize various elements in a way that feels like you’re listening to the band for the first time again.  By emphasizing melodies around a haze of moody atmosphere and foggy malaise, Movements remind us what originally drew listeners to emo as kids and what keeps us coming back to post-hardcore in maturity.